I think it was when the elevator arrived on the Emirates floor that I knew I wouldn’t be going. There was a man in a suit and a name tag surrounded by people, he was talking to an Indian fellow who was complaining that his family got free accommodation in Dubai so why did he have to pay here?
There was a family nearby sitting on the floor, mum was leaning on dads shoulder, little brother and little sister were asleep in their parents laps drooping like dolls. A teenager complained to to her father that the battery to her iPod had just like gone flat and that this was lame and could they please just go back to the hotel because they were playing Sex in the City soon on tv and she’d only seen that episode ‘like-once’.
I approached a man that had a funny lopsided sad smile and asked where the back of the queue, he pointed at a little machine and told me I could get a number.
The counter was up to 62, I got 183. I sat down on the floor next to a woman reading a guide book.
After about 40 minutes I tried talking to the man in the suit with the name tag who was still surrounded by people. He took one look at my itinerary and smiled a grimace at me.
“I don’t think your connection from Dubai to Paris will fly. There is a possiblity that we won’t even be allowed to put you on the flight TO Dubai. ”
Heart, meet my shoes.
“Can I get a different flight?”
“I’m going to have to wait in this queue for a refund?”
I went to take my spot back on the floor when the lady who had been sitting next to me with the guide book handed me her number.
“I don’t need to wait” she said. Her accent was French.
“Are you sure?”
She handed the peice of paper to me, it was 103. I thanked her profusely and she turned and headed for the elevator. I just want to say in case that lovely lady by chance reads this. Thank you again.
At this stage it was up to 72 or similar. Phil and I whiled away the time playing monopoly on my iPhone. And I occasionally would call out the number on the screen, fufilling an vauge urge to help this tired mass of people around me.
When my number was called I jumped up like I had won bingo.
The lady at the counter’s name was Margret. She had a gold nametag and had already dealt with many bingo winners today and clearly the excitement had worn off. She squinted at my itinerary.
“I can send this to the Melbourne office, they will give you a refund” she then stamped and stuck and wrote stuff all over my itnarary. Told me thankyou and motioned for me to leave.
My bingo prize didn’t seem as exciting as when my number was called – what kind of idiot gets excited about NOT going to Europe.
That night in the hotel in Singapore just after I had gotten into bed I felt sad, then annoyed then I totally paniced. What if my flight flew? What if the Emirates man was wrong? I had been waiting for this for 5 months. What if I had just given away my only chance to see Paris? What if the volcano never goes away and the only way to travel in the future is on curise liners stuffed with old folk?
Im pretty sure that volcano-stunted-holidays are very much a first world issue and that really I should have been ok with being in Singapore in the first place. But I wasn’t ok with it, so I had a bit of a moment. I know there are starving kids out there and some Americans dont know where it is on a map but I really really wanted to go to Europe. And I wasn’t going to Europe. And that sucked, so I cried.